Welcome back to North America’s best source for news and information for RVers. Hopefully your 2022 camping planning is well underway. Private, state and national parks are all reporting heavy traffic on booking sites, so don’t wait! As always, we at RVtravel.com appreciate your help through voluntary contributions to keep this newsletter coming your way, and be sure to check out all of our other RV-related newsletters.
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Sunday, February 13, 2022
Non-Members (advertising-supported) edition
How many RVs are burning? It depends on where you look
By Mike Gast
Last week, I wrote an essay about the growing problem of the “rolling homeless”—those unfortunates forced by various factors to live full time in often decrepit RVs. I noted that I was seeing an increase in daily news reports of RV fires with associated deaths and serious injuries. A few readers questioned whether RV fires were that common. Since my initial observations were mostly anecdotal, I decided to dig a bit deeper into the prevalence of RV fires. Continue reading.
RV makers help Elkhart County achieve nation’s lowest unemployment rate
If you’re looking for a new job and are willing to relocate, Elkhart County, Indiana, has a new career waiting for you. The home of most of the recreational vehicle manufacturing in the world now officially can claim the nation’s lowest unemployment rate of 0.9%. Read more.
Space weather fells 40 Starlink satellites
On February 3, a Falcon 9 rocket sent 49 Starlink satellites into low-earth orbit in what has become a typical launch routine. The launch involved the latest group of satellites placed in low orbit, joining more than 2,000 others in a satellite array that SpaceX forecast to reach 42,000 units eventually. This time, however, space weather intervened to thwart the satellites’ entry into a stable orbit, and 40 of them are in the process of reentering the earth’s atmosphere, where they will burn up. Read more.
RV sales have skyrocketed and more people than ever are taking up RVing. The result is campground crowding like never before! In this weekly blog, RV Travel readers discuss their experiences. Last week we published a comment from a reader asking the dealers to “stop selling RVs to folks under 50.” That certainly caused some comments and struck a nerve, particularly with those under 50! Read a few of those responses, plus tips from readers on how they deal with crowded campgrounds, and also how difficult it can be on campground managers with campers who have unreasonable expectations. All that and more here.
New rules to view Yosemite’s firefall
If you want to look at the annual firefall phenomenon at Horsetail Fall in Yosemite this month you need to be aware of a few new restrictions. The firefall is a natural phenomenon that causes the light from the setting sun to reflect off Horsetail Fall, making the water appear as if it’s glowing in vibrant, fire-like hues—and occurs for about two weeks every February if the circumstances are just right. Here are the new restrictions.
In today’s review, industry insider Tony Barthel looks at the brand-new SylvanSport VAST. Tony writes, “While a lot of RV manufacturers make a lot of noise about innovation because they painted their cabinets black this year (yuck), this truly is an innovative trailer. The kitchen, the variable interior space, the outside racks, the build methodology. It’s different. And better.” Read more and take a look around.
Yesterday’s review: Crossroads RV Zinger Lite ZR18RK
Read all other RV reviews by clicking here.
February 6–12, 2022
RV Industry Association starts a PAC. The RV manufacturing industry has decided to get a bit more involved in the legislative process. The RV Industry Association recently announced that it is relaunching RVPAC, its political action committee. In a recent release, the association said it was restarting the political action committee “Because Actions of Congress can significantly impact RV Industry Association members’ ability to do business. Legislation can be passed that either advances or stifles the RV industry. To help ensure it is the former and not the latter that gets enacted into law, we need to be involved in the political process.” Corporations are prohibited by law from making contributions to candidates. But the law does allow trade associations to create political action committees and solicit contributions from association executives and administrative personnel, as well as association member employees for use in supporting candidates’ campaigns.
RV dealership chain Lazydays had a pretty good fourth quarter in 2021. Lazydays reported that its fourth quarter revenues rose 156% to $323 million, up $126 million compared to the fourth quarter of 2020. RV unit sales during the period increased 50.6% to 3,211 units during the quarter. That news followed a record third quarter for the company.
Detroit show draws big crowd. The annual Detroit RV & Camping Show drew more than 27,000 attendees between February 2-6. That is the third largest crowd recorded during the show’s 20-year run.
Dealers are feeling upbeat. A January Baird Dealer Sentiment Index prepared for the RV Dealers Association showed RV dealers surveyed have positive outlooks for both current and future conditions in the RV sales business. The overall index showed a score of 59 out of 100. Any score over 50 is deemed positive.
Mammoth Cave Jellystone sold. The Jellystone Park at Mammoth Cave, Kentucky, is now owned by Maryland-based development firm Blue Water Development. The campground is located in Cave City, Kentucky. Blue Water CEO Todd Burbage said his company will implement its own standard of customer service and unique camping experiences to the location.
Connecticut camping businesses sold. Nelson’s Family Campground, Nelson’s Court and Wolf’s Den Family Campground as well as Gustine’s RF Sales & Service have all been sold to an investment company. The businesses were all owned by the Gustine family and were located inn East Hampton, Connecticut. The new owner is Castle Park Investments.
New RV park opening in Avon, North Carolina. A new oceanfront RV park is slated to open on May 20 in Avon, North Carolina. Reservations for the Avon by the Sea RV Park are now being accepted online. Find more information here. The two-acre park will be on the north side of the Avon Pier. Park owner Joe Thompson said he received about 40 reservations during the first hour the booking site was active.
Many factors influencing high fuel prices. Wintery weather and world tensions are keeping the pedal down on fuel prices nationwide. The price per barrel is now in the low $90s, nearly $30 a barrel more than in August 2021, according to AAA. The recent cold weather in the U.S. increased the demand for heating oil. Meanwhile, the concern that Russia will react to potential Western sanctions by withholding crude oil from the already tight global market puts heavy upward pressure on prices. The national average price for a gallon of gas went to $3.44, about eight cents more than a week ago. The last time fuel was this expensive was in 2014.
RV dealer moving in Oregon. Family Fun RV of Portland is moving to a new location in Saint Helens, Oregon, about 20 minutes from either Portland or Vancouver, Washington. The move will add space, giving the dealership a 5-acre lot.
New Ford truck can power your home. If you are looking for another reason to invest in a new Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck, how about backup power for your home or RV? Ford says their new electric truck can meet the average household’s energy needs for up to three days. The U.S. Energy Information Administration says the average American electric customer experienced about eight hours of cumulative power outages during 2020.
Manatees in trouble. The Florida manatee is in big trouble. More than 1,000 manatees have died in the state in the past year alone. Many deaths are being caused by boat propellers. There is an online petition in place organized in hopes of requiring all rental boats to have mandatory propeller guards. To see the petition, click here.
You don’t want this smokin’ hot tow vehicle. If you have a Hyundai or Kia tow vehicle, you might want to be sure to keep it parked outside. The auto manufacturers just told owners of 500,000 cars and SUVs in the U.S. to park outside and away from buildings because a possible defect could cause their vehicles to catch fire even when not running. The problem is in a computer control module that can short circuit and cause a fire in the engine compartment. Hyundai is recalling 2016-2018 model year Santa Fe SUVs, 2017-2018 Santa Fe Sport SUVs, 2019 Santa Fe XL models and 2014-2015 Tucson SUVs. Kia is recalling 2016-2018 K900 sedans and 2014-2016 Sportage SUVs. In total, Hyundai is recallng 357,830 vehicles while Kia is recalling 126,747.
Travel Resorts of America buys five parks. North Carolina-based Travel Resorts of America has purchased Midwest Outdoor Resorts, which operates five campgrounds in Minnesota and South Dakota. Travel Resorts of America is a membership-based campground operator that now controls 2,500 campsites at 14 camping resorts, including 11 member-only locations. The properties are in Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota.
A truck with a clothes dryer. The Rivian electric pickup truck may just come with a strange new add-on … a clothes dryer. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office noted a filing in June 2020 for a “Dryer Attachment for a Vehicle” from Rivian. The dryer attachment would connect to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning duct in the car. The accessory would also have a nozzle to direct the flow of air, just in case you needed a hair dryer, too. Inventor Matthew Hortop, a former engineer at Rivian, is reportedly the one behind the feature. “These kinds of vehicles are more like a platform to build things on other than designing into the hardware,” says Hortop. Although Rivian has applied for the patent, it isn’t known for sure if the feature will be included in new vehicles.
Car costs coming down. Automotive News is reporting that the surge in U.S. auto prices may be beginning to decline. Used car prices began to decline last month after peaking just after Christmas. New car prices fell 2% in January from December, but are still up about 16% from a year ago.
Electric work vans leading the way in development. CNN.com recently did a good story on how electric “work” vans used by large corporations will likely drive the development of all electric vehicles down the road. You can read it here.
Maine is running hot on reservations. If you’re planning to camp at any one of the 12 Maine state parks this year, good luck. Officials there said summer reservations are on a record-breaking pace. Registration for state park camping just opened on Monday, Feb. 7, and 5,469 reservations were recorded by the end of the next day. That was a 26% increase from the first day of reservations in 2021.
Doctors in Canada can now prescribe a trip to a Canadian national park. PaRx is a program launched by the British Columbia Parks Foundation that issued year-long 100 Parks Canada passes to doctors, allowing them to “prescribe” a park visit to their patients in an effort to increase access to nature and its health benefits.
Camping World’s big U.S. flag isn’t flying in Wilsonville. The big 130-foot flagpole at the Camping World in Wilsonville, Oregon, won’t be going back up. Not only that, Camping World, Symonds Flags and Poles and FPI-Wilsonville LLC agreed to pay the City of Wilsonville a $35,000 fine. The flag pole had been erected in violation of city code and had racked up $195,000 in fines ($500 per day) before it was removed. City rules say you can’t put up a flagpole taller than 30 feet without the city’s OK. The lower fine was the result of an agreement signed by all parties.
Is this your RV?
Win a $25 Amazon gift certificate if today’s RV photo shows your rig
Every day we post a photo of an RV either submitted by its owner or by our editors as they move about the country.
Trucks and Tow Vehicles
Introduced as the manufacturer’s first pickup truck, the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz addresses a niche market. It’s a pickup truck for buyers who don’t want a truck—or at least as previously defined. Available last June as this year’s model, the four-door, front-engine, all-wheel drive is marketed as an Adventure Sport Vehicle. Check it out.
The Quartzsite Report
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Welcome to our regular – albeit seasonal – update on the news from the RVing Capital of the World. If you’re a QZ regular, or just thinking about “dropping in to check it out,” we’ll give you ditties and dollops of what’s happening in and around Quartzsite.
If you’ve even just “set foot” in Quartzsite, you’ve seen camels. OK, camel images. Each of the town’s four entryways is decorated with signs, decked out with camel silhouettes. The local transit system is dubbed “The Camel Express.” Camels, camels, everywhere—but not a hoof print to be seen. “What’s with the camels?” some ask. Blame it all on Hi Jolly. Continue reading.
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HAVE YOU SEEN THIS STOLEN RV?
Alas, another storage facility theft. This time from Louisville, Kentucky’s Extra Space Storage on Blankenbaker Access Drive. Sometime between January 4 and February 4, somebody made off with a 2018 Winnebago Micro Minnie travel trailer—a 2108DS model. Last tagged with Kentucky plate 982484. Know something? Contact the Jeffersontown, Kentucky, police at (502) 267-0503. Refer to report 020221701. What dirty dog would run off with Minnie? He must have been Goofy!
Did someone rip off your ride? Let us post information on your stolen RV. Email Russ (at) rvtravel.com.
See many more recently stolen RVs. Let’s help find these for their owners and maybe even put the crooks in the slammer. Click here.
RV recalls posted since our last newsletter
• Jayco Entegra and Seneca motorhomes recalled for steering danger
• Roadtrek recalls some RVs: Propane could enter vehicle
• Tiffin recalls some motorhomes: Awnings may detach
• Jayco RV recalls some motorhomes for potential steering loss
• Highland Ridge recalls some RVs for ungrounded electrical box
• Jayco RV recalls some Eagle fifth wheel trailers
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• Cover story: Should you tip campground workers?
• Featured article: Long RV servicing waits may be reduced by cultivating relationships with local shops
• Ask Dave: What is the best water purifier?
• Utility workers taking over campgrounds, given priority over campers like us
• Questionable RVing features: What were they thinking?
• RV Consumer Support: Your credit card statements could hurt you!
… and much more
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of February 7, 2022:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $3.44 [Calif.: $4.51]
Change from week before: Up 8 cents; Change from year before: Up 98 cents.
Diesel: $3.95 [Calif.: $4.95]
Change from week before: Up 11 cents; Change from year before: Up $1.15.
Turn me on my side and I am everything. Cut me in half and I am nothing. What am I?
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Upcoming RV shows
• Detroit RV & Camping Show, Novi, MI
• Georgia RV & Camper Show, Atlanta, GA
• Edmonton RV EXPO & Sale, Edmonton, Alberta
• Jacksonville RV MegaShow, Jacksonville, FL
• La Crosse Boat, Sports, Travel & RV Show, La Crosse, WI
• Salem Spring RV Show, Salem, OR
• Arkansas RV Show, Little Rock, AR
• Bismarck Tribune Sport Show, Bismarck, ND
• Chattanooga RV & Camping Show, Chattanooga, TN
• Lawton RV, Boat & Outdoor Leisure Show, Lawton, OK
• Midessa Boat, RV, Sport & Gun Show, Odessa, TX
• Richmond RV Show, Richmond, VA
Recipe of the Day
This sub is super easy and yummy. The onion and beef flavors soak into the meat and create fantastic meatballs. We melted the cheese in the oven along with toasting the bun like Nelda suggested and they were amazing. Your friends will think you spent some time making these (it’ll be our secret about how easy they are). Between the gooey melted cheese and the caramelized onions, this is better than any sub you can buy at the store.
This sounds like a recipe we’ll want to make WAY too often! Yuuuuummy! Get it here.
Yesterday’s recipe: Crock Pot Taco Dip
Brain teaser answer:
The number 8.
The Perfect Scam Podcast
Every Sunday we present a podcast from AARP about scams and how crooks are stealing your money, often via telemarketing. Their efforts are often most successful with people 65 years and older who fall victim to the scammers’ sophisticated techniques. Here is this week’s episode.
A few jokes to tell today:
Where do football players go when they need a new uniform?
What did the bumblebee running back say when he got a touchdown?
How did Scrooge end up with the football?
The ghost of Christmas passed.
Today in History
Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Editor: Emily Woodbury. Associate editor: Diane McGovern. Senior editors: Russ and Tiña De Maris. Senior writers: Nanci Dixon, Tony Barthel, Mike Gast. Contributors: Mike Sokol, Gail Marsh, Roger Marble, Dave Solberg, Dave Helgeson, Andy Zipser, Janet Groene, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld, Machelle James, Scott Linden, James Raia, Kate Doherty, J.R. Montigel, Clint Norrell, Randall Brink, Chris Epting, Karel Carnohan, DVM, and Cheri Sicard. Special projects director: Jessica Sarvis. Moderators: Gary Gilmore, Linda Brady, Mark Gorrie. Financial affairs director: Gail Meyring. Special Reports: Bradford Geer. IT wrangler: Kim Christiansen.
Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we occasionally get something wrong. We’re just human! So don’t go spending $10,000 on something we said was good simply because we said so, or fixing something according to what we suggested (check with your own technician first). Maybe we made a mistake. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of RVtravel.com or this newsletter.
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